It’s winter. It’s cold. Sitting by the fire is a favorite pastime. Why not eat food on fire too? Well not literally WHILE it’s on fire. Making a flambé dessert does not only have to be reserved for old school table-side service at fancy restaurant outings. It’s not difficult to do at home though should be done with full attention; not while chasing kids, talking on the phone, texting or anything distracting you from the task at hand.
Last year about this time I was asked to prepare a traditional Southern dish for the roll out of a TV show about southern cooking. I made a Classic Bananas Foster. If you have not had the pleasure of trying Banana Foster is it bananas cooked in butter, brown sugar, banana liqueur and rum, flambéed at the end. It is served on vanilla ice cream and is dreamy.
I was researching the history of the dish and ran into Mangoes Diablo, a similar flambéed dessert made with mangoes and tequila. After and eyebrow raising ‘oooo’ it was deposited on my ‘blog dishes to make in the future’ list and forgotten about. Perhaps prompted by the constantly low temperatures lately, it sprang to mind and seemed like the perfect time to make it.
When making the announcement I’d be preparing it, my husband’s first question was ‘is it actually mango season?’ Great question. Most of the mangoes sold in the U.S. are from Mexico, Haiti, Guatemala, Brazil, Peru and Ecuador. There are six main varieties of mangoes, each having a different season. Between the growing regions and mango varieties, some type of mango (if not multiple types) is available all year round. So guess that means for preparing this recipe, it’s always mango season!
The dish is simple and I think sort of elegant. Slices of mangoes are sautéed in butter and brown sugar, with Citronage (an orange liqueur which is a distilled in Mexico) and lime juice, to finally be lit on fire with some tequila. I serve it over vanilla ice cream which I pre-freeze into balls beforehand to slow the melting of the ice cream when piled with hot mangoes.
A tricky thing I’ve found about flambéing is that the flame is very light or colorless; not the raging fire you see in restaurants. It’s important to clear the area around the pan from things that could catch fire and allow the flame to fully die down. It only flames for a few minutes but allow it time so you don’t accidentally stick your hand in the flame!
Mangoes Diablo is a unique dessert with a tropical flavor you’ll love. It can be served individually or from a main dish as shown in the photos. Whichever way you serve it will make a meal special and out of the ordinary. And of course delicious.
- 1-pint Vanilla Ice Cream
- 4 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
- ¾ cups Light Brown Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Lime Juice
- 3 tablespoons Citronage (or alternative orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier)
- 3 large Mangos, ripe but still firm enough to peel and slice; peeled and cut into ¼-inch thick strips
- ¼ cup White (Blanco) Tequila
- Ground Cinnamon
- The day prior to serving the dessert: line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Scoop ice cream into balls and place them onto the prepared baking sheet leaving room in between each ice cream ball. Place in the freezer overnight to fully freeze them.
- In a large, heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat to melt. Add the sugar and stir to fully combine and allow the sugar to begin to dissolve.
- Lower the heat slightly and carefully pour the lime juice and Citronage into the pan and begin stirring immediately to incorporate. Continue to stir until the sugar is fully melted; 1-2 minutes.
- Add the mangos, stir to fully coat and allow to cook until the mangoes soften slightly; 3-5 minutes. Stir periodically.
- Carefully pour the tequila into the skillet, turn the heat back to medium-high and light the liquid toward the outside of the pan (by an edge) with a fireplace match or grill lighter (something long). The skillet will flambé however the fire may be almost invisible. Allow the fire to burn out; 2-3 minutes.
- Assemble the ice cream balls either in a central serving bowl or platter, or in individual bowls. Using a slotted spoon, add the mangoes on top of the ice cream, drizzle with some of the sauce from the skillet and sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Serve immediately.